Singapore Country Guide 2022

Singapore

The Republic of Singapore is a  sovereign island country and city-state in maritime Southeast Asia; it is extremely clean and organized, very safe, and has a highly efficient public transport system. Singapore is by far not the cheapest place to live, especially in regards to accommodation (which is also on the small side considering that Singapore is not a very huge country); however, tax rates are pretty low.

Singapore has a very high level of healthcare, but it is mostly private and can get quite expensive. There is a lot of cultural diversity and a very friendly social scene, and good quality and affordable education. The work-life balance in Singapore is not very great, with little annual leave and uncompensated overtime, but the average salaries are quite high.

  • Capital: Singapore
  • Spoken Languages: English, Singaporean Mandarin, Malay, Tamil
  • Currency: Singapore Dollar (SGD)
  • Minimum monthly wage: N/A

Entry Visa

Citizens from most countries require a visa to enter Singapore.

Work Permit / Residence Permit

The most standard work permit for foreign workers in Singapore is the S-pass; the employee must have a degree/diploma, relevant work experience, and a monthly salary of at least SGD 2,500; the employer must also provide the employee with medical insurance. The application is done by the employer online; after the pass has been approved, the employee can enter Singapore.

Within 60 days, the employee must enter the country and register at the Ministry of Manpower Services Centre in order to receive their Work Pass card.

Social Security Registration

Employee social insurance contributions are deducted automatically from the wage and paid by the employer.

Insurance TypeEmployerEmployeeMaximum monthly earnings  (SGD)
Maximum monthly earnings  (SGD)17%20%6,000

Contributions to the CPF are payable by Singapore citizens and permanent residents only. The maximum monthly insurable earnings for the CPF are SGD 6,000.

Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS)

The SRS is a voluntary scheme for retirement savings above the CPF. It is paid for by employees, but employers can also contribute.

The contribution rate caps are 15% for Singapore citizens and permanent residents, and 35% for foreigners.

Working Hours

The standard working week in Singapore is 8 hours/day, or 40 hours/week. Overtime compensation  is only applicable to employees earning less than SGD 2,600 a month, and the maximum amount of overtime is 12 hours/day.

Public Holidays

  • 01 January (New Year’s Day)
  • 01 – 02 February (Chinese New Year)
  • Good Friday (Not a standard date, usually April/May)
  • 01 May (Labour Day)
  • 03 May (Hari Raya Puasa)
  • 15 May (Vesak Day)
  • 10 July (Hari Raya Haji)
  • 09 August (National Day)
  • 24 October (Deepavali)
  • 25 December (Christmas Day)

If a public holiday falls on a weekend, the next Monday will be a holiday in lieu of the original day.

Vacation Allowance

The amount of annual leave in Singapore depends on the length of service; employees are only entitled to leave after working for the employer for at least 3 months.

Years of ServiceLeave Amount (Days)
17 Days
28 Days
39 Days
410 Days
511 Days
612 Days
713 Days
8+14 Days

Sick Leave

Employees in Singapore are entitled to up to 14 days for paid outpatient sick leave and 60 days of paid hospitalization leave, provided they have worked with the employer for 6 months; otherwise, the amount of leave is pro rated. The employee must inform their employer within 48 hours of falling ill, and also must provide a valid medical certificate.

Maternity / Paternity leave

  • Maternity: 16 weeks of fully paid leave if the mother is a Singaporean citizen and has worked with the current employer for at least 3 months, 12 weeks of leave otherwise (first 8 weeks paid)
  • Paternity:  2 weeks within 16 weeks of the birth of the child.

Termination & Severance

There is no statutory obligation to pay severance pay upon termination in Singapore; however, if the employment was terminated due to retrenchment (employee’s position was or was likely to become redundant to the employer), the employee is entitled to an amount equal to 2 weeks’ to one month’s salary per year of service, provided the length of service was longer than 3 years.

Notice Period

Length of serviceNotice period
Less than 26 weeks1 day
26 weeks to less than 2 years1 week
2 years to less than 5 years2 weeks
5 years or more4 weeks

Social Security

Employee social insurance contributions are deducted automatically from the wage and paid by the employer.

Insurance TypeEmployerEmployeeMaximum monthly earnings  (SGD)
Central Provident Fund (CPF)17%20%6,000

Contributions to the CPF are payable by Singapore citizens and permanent residents only. The maximum monthly insurable earnings for the CPF are SGD 6,000.

Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS)

The SRS is a voluntary scheme for retirement savings above the CPF. It is paid for by employees, but employers can also contribute.

The contribution rate caps are 15% for Singapore citizens and permanent residents, and 35% for foreigners.

Pension

Pension in Singapore is covered by contributions to the CPF; but since foreign nationals working in Singapore cannot contribute, they are not eligible to the benefits. Foreigners can, however, choose to contribute to the voluntary Supplementary Retirement Scheme; in this case, expats can grow their retirement savings.

Taxation

The fiscal year in Singapore runs from 1 January to 31 December.

Tax Rates

The following progressive rates apply for 2022.

Annual Taxable Income (SGD)Rate (%)
0 – 20,0000%
20,001 – 30,0002%
30,001 – 40,0003.50%
40,001 – 80,0007%
80,001 – 120,00011.5%
120,001 – 160,00015%
160,001 – 200,00018%
20,001 – 240,00019%
240,001 – 280,00019.5%
280,001 – 320,00020%
320,001 +22%

Tax Returns

The annual income tax return must be filed by15 April of the following year.

Double Taxation

Singapore has tax treaties with multiple other countries, which can reduce payable tax on certain incomes.

Health Insurance

Singapore citizens and permanent residents are entitled to subsidized healthcare services provided through government healthcare facilities. Foreigners working in Singapore are not eligible; however, many employers provide private health insurance for their employees.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Singapore is quite high compared to many other countries, especially for housing. The estimated monthly cost for a single person is around SGD 3,200 – 4,300, with 2,000 – 3,000 going to rent.


How We Can Help

We provide a full set of services in Singapore allowing corporate clients, recruitment agencies and professional contractors to operate in an optimal manner while ensuring that all local employment obligations are taken care of.

Access Financial offers the following solution in Singapore:

  • Employed/EOR Solution

If you would like to discuss how Access Financial can help in Singapore, please contact us.

Disclaimer

WE HAVE PREPARED THIS AS A GUIDE ONLY; IT DOES NOT FORM PART OF AN OFFER. PLEASE REQUEST ILLUSTRATIONS BASED ON YOUR SPECIFIC CASE FROM ONE OF OUR SOLUTION MANAGERS.